P5+1 prepared for 'step-by-step' approach in dialogue with Iran

P5+1 prepared for 'step-by-step' approach in dialogue with Iran

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 22 /Trend T.Konyayeva/

The P5+1 Group is ready for a constructive dialogue with Iran over its nuclear program on the basis of mutual respect and a "step-by-step" approach and expects Tehran to be ready to address all international community's concerns without preconditions, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said on behalf of the P5+1 in the official statement issued on Thursday.

"We are ready to engage with Iran in a constructive dialogue on the basis of reciprocity and a step-by-step approach and we look to Iran to make clear that it is prepared to engage in the same spirit, in particular by demonstrating willingness to address the international community's concerns about its nuclear program, without preconditions," she said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in mid July that a step-by-step approach should be used to end international doubts over Iran's nuclear program.

Lavrov said that each time Tehran answered a question or concern of the IAEA to satisfaction, the country should be rewarded by freezing some sanctions against Iran and shortening their volume.

Ashton noted that she met with the Political Directors of the P5+1 Group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States - and Germany) in order to assess the situation concerning the Iranian nuclear issue and they reaffirmed their determination and commitment to seek a diplomatic solution to this issue and focused the discussion on further practical steps to achieve it at an early date.

"We remain determined and united in our efforts to work towards a comprehensive, negotiated, long-term solution - involving the full implementation by Iran of UNSC and IAEA Board of Governors Resolutions - which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, while respecting Iran's legitimate right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy consistent with the NPT," she said.

Ashton stressed the Group's grave concern about Iran's installation of centrifuges in its facility near Qom as part of plans to increase the capacity to enrich uranium to near 20 percent and the IAEA's increasing concern about the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program.

"In this regard, we reaffirmed the need for Iran to co-operate fully with the IAEA and to satisfactorily address all its concerns, including those on possible military dimensions
to its nuclear program, as reflected in IAEA reports," she said.

In June, Head of Iran' Atomic Energy Organization Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani said that Iran is going to install 164-centrifuge cascades of new generation machines soon and to triple the production of 20-percent enriched uranium. The centrifuges would be installed both in Fordo and Natanz nuclear facilities, he added.

Abbasi underlined that Iran intends to produce 20-percent enriched fuel in Fordo nuclear facilities under the IAEA supervision.

In early September, the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano announced plans to publish new information backing up his belief that Iran may be working on a nuclear warhead - developments that leave his organization "increasingly concerned".

Ashton underscored that over the past year the Group have made concrete and practical proposals for initial confidence building measures to Iran.

"We deeply regret that Iran has failed to respond in kind," she said. "However, we reaffirm our offer of June 2008 and the proposals we made to Iran in Istanbul in January."

"In this context, if Iran is prepared to engage more seriously in concrete discussions aimed at resolving international concerns about its nuclear program, we would be willing to agree on a next meeting with the Iranian side at an early and mutually convenient date and venue," Ashton added.

The last round of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program took place in January 2011 in Istanbul.

Ashton, who represented at the talks the P5+1 Group, stressed that the talks ended without result. Iranian officials made "unrealistic" demands in the negotiations - lifting of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic and the agreement under which Iran would continue its research in the field of nuclear energy, she said after the talks.

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